About Sotheby’s Institute of Art

  • Evolving from a small connoisseurship program begun by Sotheby's Auction House in 1969, Sotheby's Institute is now the leader in art business education and object-based learning. Our faculty represent the best of the art world helping students master the unique forces at play at the intersection of art and commerce. We have campuses in New York, London, Los Angeles, and Online, and we offer a range of different programs from Master’s Degrees to Online, Semester and Summer courses. Please visit sothebysinstitute.com to learn more about our full suite of program offerings.

  • The Pre-College Summer Institute is a residential and day student program in New York City for high schoolers (rising 10th – 12th graders and graduating seniors) who are curious and passionate about art. Each two-week course is taught by a leading scholar and professional in the art world and takes students behind the scenes of world class museums, galleries, auction houses, artists’ studios, and more.

Admissions Process

  • All students must complete an application through our online system, TADS. The application requirements include class section, short answer questions, submission of current transcripts and school report, as well as the contact information for one reference.

  • After the application fee is paid and form is submitted online, students will then be prompted to upload their required documents to the TADS system. Students can log back into their account at any time to upload their documents. Documents can be also be submitted by fax (612-548-3323) or postal mail (TADS Admissions and Enrollment, 110 N. 5th St., Second Fl., Minneapolis, MN 55403). All supplementary documents must be received by the deadline; applications without all supplementary documents will not be reviewed by the admissions committee. Therefore, we strongly recommend that all documents be uploaded.

  • Admission to Sotheby's Summer Institute is competitive. All applications are carefully reviewed by our admissions committee. Admissions officers seek talented student leaders with diverse interests, ambitions and writing styles. The committee strives to select critical thinkers who will contribute to a well-rounded, academically engaged community of students. Each application is reviewed holistically and qualified students who have demonstrated a genuine interest in the program as well as a strong academic background will be considered for admission to the program. Our goal is to accept the most qualified students as possible and to ensure we are accepting the right students into the right program.

  • Rising high school students in grades 10 – 12 as well as graduating seniors are eligible to apply. Students must be 15 years old by the first day of the program.

  • Yes, students who have graduated from high school who are 18 years of age may apply to the Graduating Seniors courses at the Pre-College Summer Institute. Students who are 18 years of age are also eligible to attend a continuing education Summer Institute course in New York, London or Online. These courses are offered in 1-, 2- or 4-week terms and are designed for undergraduates, young professionals and adults. For more information about Summer Institute courses outside of the Pre-College Summer Institute, please email summerny@sia.edu or summerlondon@sia.edu.

  • All applicants will be notified via email within four weeks after each deadline.

  • Yes. We have limited capacity in our courses and always recommend that students apply at the earliest deadline to have a better opportunity at being accepted in to their first-choice preference. Please note, that more students can be declined or waitlisted at later rounds because of lack of space. Prospective students applying under our Early Decision will have first consideration in course placement based on their preferences. While Prospective students applying for Regular Decision will be considered for course placement based on their preferences. Courses may fill to capacity after Regular Decision.

  • All admitted students must complete the enrollment form and submit a nonrefundable deposit to guarantee their space in the Summer Institute.

  • We only review applications after the application deadline. However, we recommend that students start the application process and submit their application before the deadline to guarantee their application is submitted in a timely manner. Please note that all supplemental documents must also be submitted by the deadline in order for your application to be considered.

  • Supplemental documents can only be uploaded after the application is submitted and the application fee is paid. Once you do so, the system will prompt you to upload your supplemental documents. All supplemental documents must be uploaded by the deadline to be considered for an admissions decision.

  • Yes, our courses change each year, so all students must re-apply even if they have attended in a previous year.

International Applicants

  • We unfortunately do not provide student visas, nor do we provide information on how to obtain visas for travel to the United States. We encourage international students to contact their country of origin's embassy/government office for that information.

  • While we do not require test scores, all international applicants should have an adequate understanding or verbal and written English language. A minimum TOEFL score of 95 is recommended.

  • At this time, we are unable to accept international bank payments. International participants can submit a payment via credit card or wire transfer. To submit a payment via wire transfer, please see the instructions below:

    Direct to: Wire Routing Transit Number (RTN/ABA): 121 000 248
    Bank Name: Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.
    Bank address, city & state: 420 Montgomery, San Francisco, CA 94104
    BNF/Field 4200 Beneficiary acct. #: 798 657 9840
    Beneficiary: Auncor, Inc. dba TADS
    For International Transfer only: International SWIFT BIC WFBIUS6S
    Memo: Be sure to include TADS Account Number and Account Name

    *Please note that there is a $25 wire transfer fee that must be added to your payment.

Tuition, Scholarships & Billing

  • Accepted Payment Methods include:

    • Credit Cards & Debit Cards: American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa*
    • Mailed Payments: Check, Money Order, Cash
    • Bank Payment: Checking Account or Saving Account
    • Wire Transfers**

    For payments charged after the Deposit is paid, a $10 processing fee will be included.

    *Please note that Credit Cards Payments (not including the application fee and deposit) will incur a 3% convenience fee.
    **For all payments made via wire transfer, there is a $25 Wire transfer fee (Individual Financial Institution may also charge an additional fee and payer should contact their bank for more information.)

  • Full tuition will be due in the end of April or May depending on the date of enrollment and the term the student is enrolled. After the student is enrolled, the family will receive a tuition agreement which will outline the payment due dates.

  • In order to enroll and reserve your spot in the program, you must first submit a $1500 nonrefundable deposit by the stated deadline. If the deposit is not received by the designated date on your acceptance letter, the offer of admissions may be revoked or your application may move to the waitlist and only if a space becomes available in the next review, will an offer be extended. After the deposit is paid, the family will be sent a tuition agreement to setup a payment method for the remaining balance. Families can either pay the remaining balance in one installment at the invoice due date or they have the option to log on to their account at any time and submit payments towards their balance. We do not offer other installment plans but by logging into your account at anytime, you can pay at your convenience up to the invoice due date. All tuition must be paid by the invoice due date. Any student with an outstanding balance will not be able to move into the residence hall and/or attend class.

  • We are suspending our cancellation and refund policies until the current world health situation stabilizes to give you the flexibility you need to make decisions. If you need to withdraw from the program due to Coronavirus/COVID-19 related issues, we will provide a full refund or allow you to defer enrollment to a later term, pending availability. We will be in touch with any updates as necessary and as more information becomes available. Hopefully, these policies provide comfort to families so that you can apply to and enroll in our programs as normal, and, if the circumstances change in the future, you can alter your plans without penalty. Date of receipt of written cancellation notification: Before March 15
    Amount of tuition and fees refund less non-refundable deposit: 100%

    Date of receipt of written cancellation notification: March 16 - April 15
    Amount of tuition and fees refund less non-refundable deposit: 60%

    Date of receipt of written cancellation notification: April 16 - May 15
    Amount of tuition and fees refund less non-refundable deposit: 30%

    Date of receipt of written cancellation notification: After May 15
    Amount of tuition and fees refund less non-refundable deposit: 0%

  • There are no required additional expenses after arrival. However, we recommend that students have pocket money as needed for the purchase of incidentals.  Parents/guardians will be contacted in the case of incidental charges (e.g. damages, lost keys, medical fees, etc.)

  • Financial Aid is available for participation is the program. Financial aid applications are evaluated at two rounds, Early Decision deadline and Regular Decision deadline. In order to be considered for financial aid, students must submit a completed program application followed by a financial aid application at the same deadline in which they are applying. Financial aid decisions and admissions decisions are sent at the same time. Therefore, if a student is applying for the program at the Early Decision deadline, they must also submit a financial aid application during this deadline. The Regular Decision deadline is the last opportunity to be considered for financial aid. We strongly recommend that students apply at the earliest possible deadline. Need for financial aid has no bearing on admission to the program.

  • Our mission is to provide affordable educational opportunities to as many qualified applicants as possible. If the tuition cost is a barrier to your attendance in any way, we encourage you to apply. Partial financial assistance is awarded based upon need, as well as other determining factors. Please note that a student’s need for financial aid has no bearing on admission to the program. Aid can be awarded to both domestic and international participants. Members of historically underrepresented groups are encouraged to apply.

Travel & Safety

  • New York City is one of the safest big cities in the United States. The Sotheby's Summer Institute experience itself is centered around our campus on the Upper West Side, one of the most family-oriented residential neighborhoods in Manhattan. While the residence hall and academic buildings are secured spaces, students should note that our campus is not separated from the city. As always, students should stay alert and travel with caution when leaving campus and understand that their distance from campus limits the ability of our student life staff to provide support. We encourage students and parents/guardians to discuss safety and guidelines prior to their arrival at Sotheby's Summer Institute. Parents should feel comfortable allowing their students to move unsupervised throughout New York City during their off time.

  • Yes. The number will be provided during orientation on arrival day. The emergency number will also be emailed to parents.

  • All classes and official program activities are chaperoned by our instructors and program staff. Security as well as student life staff are present in the residence hall 24/7 for the duration of the program. 

  • All staff who have regular interaction with students will have comprehensive background checks completed before they can begin working in the program. This includes instructional staff, residential staff and any other staff who will have more than incidental interaction with students.

  • Yes. All students are required to have valid health insurance coverage while in New York City. International students should consider purchasing travel insurance that covers medical emergencies during their stay in the United States. Also required is an Immunization Form or Immunization record showing proof of the MMR Vaccine (students who wish to exempt themselves from the required vaccination for medical or religious reasons can contact the office). 

  • Students will be accompanied by instructors and/or program staff during class site visits and official program activities. During free time, students can travel around New York City with another student by using our checkout system. Students must complete a regular leave request through Boardingware indicating their destination, name of their "buddy" and expected return time. Students then proceed to the Welcome Desk to have their request approved and officially check-out. Students who would like to leave campus independently (without another student) or for longer than four hours must complete special leave request through Boardingware and receive parent/guardian approval.
    We recommend that students and parents/guardians discuss safety and guidelines prior to their arrival at Sotheby’s Summer Institute. Parents should feel comfortable allowing their students to move unsupervised throughout New York City during their off time.

  • No. All students are given weekly MetroCard each week of the program.

  • Students must arrive the Sunday before the first day of class and check in at their assigned residence hall. Residential students may move into their assigned room on Sunday afternoon. Day students should arrive prior to mandatory orientation Sunday evening. Details on move-in and orientation programming will be provided prior to the start of Sotheby's Summer Institute.  

  • Yes. Students may complete a Special Leave Request to checkout from campus alone to meet with family and friends. Students must be back on campus by curfew and should only submit requests for designated free time. 

  • Sotheby's Summer Institute recommends that students keep their rooms locked when unattended. We recommend that students not bring any valuables; Sotheby's Summer Institute takes no responsibility for lost or stolen items.

Program Events & Student Life

  • Sotheby's Summer Institute offers a variety of non-academic or extracurricular activities for students throughout the summer. There is an expectation that students may have class activities, field trips and homework after class. In the evenings, students have access to residence hall study spaces that facilitate individual and group work. There are also several signature events open to all students such as the Speaker Series and excursions to explore New York City neighborhoods and iconic landmarks. Students and their friends are also welcome to explore New York City on their own.

  • Official college visits are not included in the academic program. Unofficial college visits may be available as special excursions based on student interest. Some classes may also visit local universities as part of their course curriculum.  

  • Students reside in air-conditioned suite-style residence halls with private en-suite bathrooms.

  • Students are typically roomed according to their age and self-identified gender listed in the enrollment form. Sotheby's Summer Institute may consult with students on an individual basis as needed to find appropriate accommodations. Students will learn their room assignment upon arrival to the program.
    Students can request roommates by completing the roommate request form included in the enrollment form. Both roommates must fill out the roommate request form for a request to be considered.

  • Meals are provided and include vegetarian, vegan and Kosher options. Students and families can indicate any necessary dietary accommodations prior to arrival in their enrollment forms. Families with specific concerns should contact the admissions office to speak directly about possible accommodations.

  • Students are free to visit with their parents and other family members off campus during their free time. Parents are not permitted into the residence hall after initial move-in.  

  • Unfortunately, parents cannot attend the Pre-College Summer Institute. However, we invite parents to explore the continuing education offerings as part of the Summer Institute – New York. This program offers 2- and 4-week courses that include in-class lectures, guest speakers and site visits to New York’s art institutions, business and organizations.

Day Students

  • No. Day students check themselves in each morning and self-dismiss at the end of the day.

  • Day students should arrive on class days at least 10 minutes prior to their class start time to check in with their TA before class. Day students can check out any time after afternoon class sessions conclude.

  • Yes. Day students are encouraged to remain on campus and attend evening and weekend activities, with access to all the same spaces and programming as residential students. The day and residential programs only differ with regard to sleeping arrangements and housing. We do ask that all day students depart from the residence hall by curfew.

  • Day students are strongly encouraged (but not required) to fully participate in weekend events and activities.   

Packing List & Dress Code

  • • Clothing: light and cool casual summer clothing, jacket or sweatshirt, raincoat, swimsuit, sandals, comfortable walking shoes, a set of nicer clothes (for more formal events)
    • Weather gear: sunscreen, sunglasses, umbrella, reusable water bottle
    • Academic supplies: laptop, notebook, pen
    • Camera and/or journal/diary
    • Personal electronics: cell phone, alarm clock, hair dryer, headphones, chargers
    • Photo ID (e.g. government issued ID, official school ID, or copy of passport)
    • Copy of health insurance card (front and back)
    • Spending money (for souvenirs and incidentals)

  • Students will be doing a good deal of writing and keyboards are essential, hence the recommendation that they bring laptops. Students who do not have a laptop will be able to borrow one from the program at the start of the program. Tablets are welcome but not necessary. Each course will have its own requirements regarding materials.

  • • Students may not bring flammable materials, including but not limited to candles, incense, matches, lighters, electronic cigarette/JUUL products, explosive devices or fireworks. Students who violate this policy will be subject to immediate dismissal.
    • Students are not allowed to bring weapons of any kind, including but not limited to knives, pepper spray, firearms, paintball guns, laser pointers or other dangerous items. Students who violate this policy will be subject to immediate dismissal.
    • Students are not allowed to use or possess tobacco products, alcoholic beverages or unauthorized drugs or medication. Students who violate this policy will be subject to immediate dismissal.
    • Students may not bring USB drives on campus.
    • Students are not allowed to have a car, skateboard, skates, or a bicycle on campus.
    • Students may not bring pets of any kind.
    • Students may not bring cooking or kitchen appliances, such as refrigerators, microwave or toaster ovens or hot plates.
    • We recommend that students not bring any valuables; The School takes no responsibility for lost or stolen items.
    • Bedding and towels are provided, so students need not bring sheets, pillows, blankets or towels.

  • Sotheby's Summer Institute expects all students to dress in a way that is appropriate for an academic environment. Students will frequently be interacting with professionals and in professional environments and should dress as such. Basic Principle: Certain body parts (genitals, buttocks, breasts and nipples) must always be covered by opaque clothing.

    Students must wear:
    • A full-length shirt
    • Pants/jeans or the equivalent (skirt, sweatpants, leggings, a dress or shorts)
    • Shoes/sandals/flip flops

    Students cannot wear:
    • Clothing or accessories with violent language or imagery
    • Clothing or accessories with language depicting drugs or alcohol or any illegal activity
    • Clothing or accessories with images or language that creates a hostile or intimidating environment
    • Swimsuits
    • Accessories that could be dangerous or used as a weapon

  • Yes, there are laundry facilities within the residence hall. Students must provide their own detergent; machines accept liquid detergent only (no pods or detergent packs).

  • No, campus mail service operates on a very limited schedule during the summer months. As a result, students may not receive any packages or mail to campus. Please do not send your child a package by FedEx,UPS or other carriers.
    We suggest utilizing a local Amazon locker or similar service to send care packages to your student. If it is an urgent situation, please contact the admissions office about possible accommodations.

  • All program-related expenses are included in the program tuition or supplemental fees. However, New York City provides many opportunities for shopping and students have typically wanted to acquire souvenirs of their stay. We recommend that students and parents exercise prudence and that students not carry around large amounts of currency.  

Student Evaluations

  • Yes. All students that successfully complete the term in good standing will receive a certificate from Sotheby's Summer Institute via email.

  • Yes. Each student who completes the course and is in good standing will receive a narrative evaluation from their instructor via their Canvas account.

  • As a pre-college program, Sotheby's Summer Institute gives students the opportunity to get a glimpse of the college experience while also exploring possible topics of study. Typically, college admissions officers look favorably on students who continue to enhance their academic portfolio during the summer months.  Students will also benefit from receiving a narrative evaluation from their instructor which can be included as part of their college applications.    

Applications Now Closed

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